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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  October 30, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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terrifying night we are seeing scenes of destruction up and down the eastern seaboard. record-breaking storm surges in manhattan left cars floating down streets, fires broke out and torched neighborhoods. more than 8 million without power and at least 29 people have lost their lives. sandy now a post-tropical cyclone is bringing blizzard conditions it parts of west virginia. its power is being felt as far as chicago. waves up to 25 feet high are expected on lake michigan. last night new jersey took a direct hit from the super storm, driving the atlantic ocean into coastal cities. rescues are under way in moonchie putting the town under water and 800 stranded. the degree of devastation across new jersey is still unknown. >> you have a battered, battered new jersey shore that i hope to tour later today. i think the losses are going to be almost incall lable. >> what's being called the storm
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of the century crippled new york city cutting power and plunging manhattan into darkness. more than 13 feet of water wushds over the seawahl in battery park, rushing into tunnels and subways. it could leave the city paralyzed for days. >> when do you expect the subway system to be up and running again? >> four or five days i think. at this point we don't know. if you had to guess, con ed and the subways, three, four days and i would be happy if that's what it turns out to be. >> the mta reporting that seven tunnels have been flooded announced in our 108 years our employees have never faced like a challenge like the one that confronts us now. 215 patients were evacuated from new york hospitals when backup yen raters failed. queens, firefighters battled a blaze that consumed 50 homes. meanwhile, a crane mangled from heavy winds dangled 80 stories above midtown, manhattan. president obama has signed major
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disaster declarations for new york city, long island and new jersey. we have reporters covering the damage from this storm across the northeast. nbc's ron allen was in point pleasant beach, new jersey, and felt the full wrath of sandy last night. this is what it looked like there. >> from point pleasant beach in new jersey, the sand dunes about 30 yards wide, about 12 feet tall, what separates the ocean from the town. it's been deteriorating throughout date. >> ron, we are glad where you are safe. that was one of the more dramatic scenes we saw last night. give us an assessment of the damage? >> well, that sand dune was owe blib rated an most of the sand is here up the street, the ocean is back in that direction and you can see the heavy equipment is out trying to clear away the sand. it's about at least a foot deep here. the water rushing through this part of town was up to my waist at least that much last night. so a lot of devastation here.
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as you can see the hotel the front of it is completely blown out. the same story up and down this coast here in this town and i'm sure similar damage up and down the jersey coast as well. today they're digging out and trying to get a handle on the amount of devastation here. >> thank you to ron allen. the weather channel's reynolds wolf is live in connecticut. what does it look like in your area? >> well, i can tell you it looks different than did it 24 hours ago. this house on gold street will be changed forever. take look the that is street, 70 feet in height knocked down by winds into the evening, knocking out power. this scenario is one played out all over new england, all across the region and connecticut alone, get this, over 600,000 customers without power and that is a problem that could take days, perhaps weeks to fix. >> anne thompson is live in lower manhattan. ann, what are cleanup efforts
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looking like downtown? >> well, you can see, alex, the bands of rain coming through are making what is a difficult job that much tougher. we know there are at least ten people who are dead in new york city because of the storm. another three quarter million people without power and restoring that power and getting the mass transit system back up and running are the biggest issues facing new york city. we have some good news about mass transit. the bus service will resume at 5:00 this afternoon. it will be sunday service. they hope to have regular service restored by tomorrow. the subways on the other hand, as you mentioned, are completely different story. all the subway tunnels are flooded and, in fact, the state has asked and is receiving help from federal experts who come in to pump the water out of the subway tunnels to get back to that. those are the two big issues both mass transit and power and both are going to take several
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days to restore completely. back to you. >> sandy is now threatening inland states with blizzard conditions. let's go now to nbc meteorologist dillon dryer tracking sandy's path. >> it is amazing how many facets there are to this storm. we're talking about coastal flooding, inland flooding because of the rain and mountain snow. this storm is huge and enough cold air that portions of west virginia are dealing with blizzard-like conditions. the snow comes down at rates of one to two inches per hour and on top of that, winds gusting near 30 to 40 miles per hour and even though it's not snowing up across portions of south of lake erie, we are still seeing flooding issues out that way. davis, west virginia, has more than 26 inches of snow already on the ground. it's a town that is pretty much without power and its residents are mostly elderly. there are big concerns out that way. the roads are covered in snow because it's falling at such an
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intense rate and blowing and reducing visibility so much that it is hard to get to some of those areas. elsewhere, it's a good thing we didn't have a lot of rain in the new york city area and central and northern new jersey. that would have made conditions that much worse. the trees would have been that much more unstable. we did have a lot of rainfall through baltimore, almost seven inches of rain, and the rain is still coming down in that area. as for new york city, we are talking about cleanup efforts and we have gusts up still near 44 miles per hour. islip still near 40 miles per hour and we also have more of a southerly component to the wind as that storm is sitting mostly across the pittsburgh and western pennsylvania area. we have a high tide in long island sound around 12:30, so moments from now. we will still see the potential of those storm surges. here's the setup, a high tide in some areas across the new jersey coastline. we had one at about 9:00 this morning. another one around 9:00 this evening.
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so even though each hour conditions do start to get a little bit better, we are still looking at coastal flooding as an issue because of those high tide cycles. inland areas dealing with the flooding issues as the rivers and the streams start to fill up with water, and then we're left with flooding issues inland as well for several days. >> thank you, dylan, for the update. i want to open this up to our panel now. martin bashir, we do not usually start the show with weather reports but it's a testament to the magnitude of this storm, almost biblical proportions shutting down major american cities. the idea that a hurricane turns into a tropical storm which is now causing blizzards across the united states, certainly none of us expected this to be our coverage in the week leading up to the election. >> we did not. it is, i guess, the october surprise. and mitt romney, who we just saw at some campaign event has chosen to continue with his traditional as if nothing else has happened, nothing has changed. i was slightly taken aback by that. i don't know, joy is indicate
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something agreement. >> it's funny. steve kornacki was saying he thought romney would keep campaigning and the conventional wisdom was that's never going to happen. but i agree with you, martin, hearing him say bring your donation to our victory center and before that still campaigning yesterday, saying people, hey, early vote is still happening. >> an hour ago they were campaigning. >> it was billed by the romney campaign as a storm relief event but happening in ohio, as we have just reported the bulk of the damage is not in ohio, although ohio may be touched by this. i thought, richard, you know, we talked about this being time for a national unity. chris christie yesterday, one of romney's chief surrogates, someone who has been vocal in his support for the former governor of massachusetts, had this to say about the president yesterday. >> yep. >> appreciate that call from the president. very proactive and i appreciate that type of leadership. i spoke to the president three times yesterday.
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he's been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election. if he's not bringing it up you can be sure that people in new jersey are not worried about that primarily if one of the guys who's running isn't. the president has been outstanding in this and so the folks of fema, craig fugate and his folks have been excellent. >> overwhelmingly positive assessment of the president. >> he's not just a romney surrogate, the keynote speaker of the republican convention we saw and just to put it in context, one of the major premise sis of the romney campaign is barack obama came to power promising to bring the country together and, in fact, mitt romney is the guy do that. over this last three, four years, the president for all his efforts to reach out and find some compromise has been cornered into a position where he's been denied republican cooperation. so any endorsement, especially an endorsement at this point, even if it's an endorsement about a natural disaster, from a prominent republican, is really worth every piece of benefit that you can get because it says
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to independents, be it says to those moderate republicans, maybe this president isn't quite as polarizing as we thought. maybe there is a -- can't get the votes in congress what he wants to do he's not so unacceptable. that was mitch mcconnell's strategy. deny him a vote, make him look like a partisan figure and people will think he's unacceptble. chris christie who is not shy about calling people out, saying he's doing a good job and he's a democrat, then maybe he's not quite as extreme as some people on the right including mitt romney have said. >> you heard him say, chris fugate, not to bring him. chris fugate was jeb bush's hurricane guy. so, you know, for all this talk of obama being so polarizing he hired jeb bush's hurricane expert as his fema executive. >> i think to richard's point, this bipartisan bologna that mitt romney has been proposing over the last few days, is absolutely nonsensical when you look at his record in massachusetts, but also bear in
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mind mitt romney called republican governors yesterday. the president didn't. he called governors who are in states that are affected. and that's the big difference between these two men. and i think that that's what the audience, the public, sorry, and your audience, alex, are beginning to get hold of. this man is for the whole of america, the whole. >> that's the benefit presidents have. you can take the national perspective, you look like you're an executive at a time of crisis. you can do things. candidates are less on a stage with a microphone talking about doing things. there is an advantage at this point when for all the challenges that a natural disaster that presidents and governors get to do stuff. >> and nic, we know we just got a read out from the white house that the president was on the phone with local officials and state officials. he has a job to do at this time. mitt romney is for better or worse in the awkward position of having to kind of campaign but not really campaign at the same time. in the "boston globe" there is i
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think a realist editorial that says the kumbaya stage, apparently what we're in right now, won't last wrong. politics is an undeniable aspect of any catastrophe. >> i mean look if you're a key executive of the state in the hurricane path you were graded on one thing in the next week and that is the response to the hurricane. everything else out the window because if you mess it up, everything is out the window. let's recall that president obama is fairly popular in jersey and chris christie is not. and he needs a lot of help from the federal government. he needs fema help, red cross help and trailers and everything so for a state executive at a bipartisan time, the president, he has an advantage, he can conduct diplomacy so to speak on like two treks. he can have the full machinery
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of the white house and the disaster response and being statesman like. that campaign isn't over. that campaign is going on and on, both sides, romney and obama, they're putting out press releases, talking points, hitting each other ads are on the air so it hasn't stopped. >> the surrogates are still in motion. >> except for chris christie. >> that's true. >> he's switched sides now a surrogate for the president. sorry. >> and to bring it back to the reality of the situation, chris christie has an extraordinary amount of work on his hands. you know, the next few weeks or months of his life will be busy with nonpolitical activities. after the break workers are stranded, hundreds of businesses are closed, thousands of flights are canceled and the new york stock exchange is shut down. depending on what model you look at, sandy could cost the economy billions. we will examine the financial fallout when cnbc's an drew ross sorkin joins the panel next on "now." [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up
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while officials are primarily focused on rescue efforts and restoring power to the 7 million people without it they are also starting to assess the catastrophic economic consequences of hurricane sandy. disaster modeling company estimates that sandy has cost between 10 and $20 billion in damage. the storm's impact will likely make it one of the ten most costly hurricanes in u.s. history and looks like it will not approach the $108 billion caused by hurricane katrina. airlines are expected to lose millions be of dollars in revenue. over 15,000 flights have already been canceled with many more likely in the days ahead. all three major new york airports remain closed and there are delays at several other
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northeastern hubs. companies up and down the east coast experiencing a widespread loss in production as employees are forced to stay home due to transportation outages. in new york city main retail stores remained shuttered. while initial reporting regarding flooding on the floor of the new york stock exchange proved to be incorrect it and the nasdaq will remain shut for a second day. the last time this occurred was during the great blizzard of 1888. the very thin silver lining on all of this, oil prices have not spiked in the storm's wake as many feared, perhaps owing to the millions of people stuck in their homes without power. joining the panel, co-host of cnbc's "squawk box" andrew ross sorkin. >> thank you for having me. >> let's talk about the financial impact here. first off, the fact that the stock exchange and the nasdaq closed last time we saw this, 150, almost 150 years ago, you know, sort of the message that sends to the financial services
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industry and what is the impact of that. >> it raises some questions. one day missing, two days missing, maybe not the end of the world. tomorrow by the way they have to open. there's a huge issue, the last day of the month and many portfolio managers and investors, that day, matters a lot. if they can't get the exchange open and it's possible that they'll only do it electronically and if there's a problem with that, that could be a real problem. but more broadly in terms of the economic impact, there is -- there's a perverse issue, some people might have argued that this will have a short-term stimulus effect given look, there's a lot of money that's been lost during this period of unproductivity, airlines, hotels. you talked about all those. but there's a lot of money that's going to be spent over the next month two months, three months to fix all of this infrastructure and so there is an argument that all of it does wash itself out. how that impacts gdp numbers or other things like that, still an open question.
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by the way, are we going to get the unemployment numbers this friday. >> that's a good question. >> into this weekend ahead of the election is a separate issue. >> did you say that wall street is looking forward to government stimulus? i just wanted to double check that? >> i don't know if anyone -- look, i don't think anybody wants the storm, looking forward to it. what happens from an economic perspective is sometimes purchases get pulled forward if you will. all of the infrastructure spending will happen more quickly. on the flip side, all the other people losing a lot of money. >> because the market can't -- >> whether the ledger balances out. >> people saw the storm from a market perspective, the storm we saw it coming and there were a lot of stocks that were impacted over the past three and four days going into the weekend. >> andrew, all these trades are electronic. why do we need a physical building open for the market to be open? >> you don't. look, at some point the floor of these exchanges have become feeder. having said that, you do need
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traders and people to manage desks somewhere. they can't all do it from home. so one of the big worries and reasons they've closed down was really around the safety of if a bank or another broker is going to trade on this electronic exchange, at some point you have to get them in a building, how do you do that given the storm? >> andrew, you mentioned "the wall street journal" was reporting the bls may delay the release of the unemployment figures and we've talked a lot on our show and throughout this channel about the importance of the employment figures to this election and yet, i was talking with stu rothenberg when the comes came out and he said this is the thing i've been wrong on. i thought these days and numbers were going to be released and big changes in the poll numbers, they were going to affect the race, they haven't. the president has had good numbers, bad numbers. i wonder what you think if the numbers come out. is it more about the mood or do people attach themselves? >> you've got somebody on your panel that called it right.
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richard wolffe said on our air on one occasion -- >> your air is cleaner, and purer and more -- >> he actually said he didn't think that there would be such a variation in terms of polling response and so on, because the sluggish recovery was baked into the psyche and therefore there wasn't going to be some great swing. also, the other thing to bear in mind, is that the number is just as liable to go up as it is to go down. and therefore, that in a way is ameliorated any potential impact as far as that number is concerned. richard wolffe said it on our air twice. >> i must be right then. you know. >> play it on our air. >> you did. >> we focus on the news and response to the news but actually, it was one of the clinton economic teams who told me, you know, as they were coming out of the '90s recession and hesitant about could they say they were out of recession, the economy really recovered, they came to the conclusion when approaching 1996 it didn't matter what they said.
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everyone is their own best economist. you know what's happening in your pocketbook and whether your income and outs going are balanced or not. what we've seen over the last several months is economic confidence, consumer spending, those numbers picking up significantly especially in the battleground states. it's not a question of what the headline number is. if people feel they're more secure in their jobs, they can go out and spend more money, that does translate to better numbers for the president in terms of job approval and slightly better numbers, not dramatically better numbers, but in those head-to-head and battleground states. >> on top of that, that number that we attach so much importance to from a media perspective, varies state by state. what you've seen is some of the key numbers have been trending down steadily, particularly white male and female unemployment has been steadily ticking down to where it's well below 7.8% and the minority number that's lagged. mostly black and hispanic unemployment keeping the number
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above 7%. those communities are trending toward the president regardless. they've discounted the number. >> look, as long as the number is under 8%, be i think it doesn't mean a thing. i think actually it only helps if it's materially lower than 7.5%, maybe you get swing voters and on the swing side, if it goes up to 8.1, 8.2%, be there are going to be some swing voters in the middle that say i thought it was getting better maybe it's not. i think that's one way to think about it. >> what about the right track/wrong track numbers. those don't fluctuate. if the mood is getting better why do the numbers not favor the white house? >> they're getting better, but they're still under water, right? >> they're still under water. my sense is that ultimately, we should all focus on the right track/wrong track numbers more than we do, but people will focus on the unemployment number because it's a number they can put their finger on and it's easy to understand. >> fair amount that goes into the right track/wrong track
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number as well. if you're a republican and think mitt romney is more likely to win the election you may think the economy is on a better track. it's a rough measure of economic confidence. some of the actual economic statistics like spending, like, you know, household goods, those are better measures of how people feel about the economy that's out of the political frame. even on the right track/wrong track numbers they have been evening up somewhat. when you see the president around the 50-point mark for job approval, it's that much harder to unseat an incumbent. for four years he's been struggling to avoid 40%. when he's at 50%, it becomes harder for mitt romney in the closing weeks. >> don't you think, though, beyond the numbers, the narrative that is in a sense percolating through this storm, is what kind of country we envision in the future? what kind of country do we aspire towards. if you look at what mitt romney said in the past about fema, and
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about states and about all these kinds of approaches which are basically reduce it all to the local level and then think of what the president stands for, i think that is going to be actually beyond the numbers economically or politically that's something that's already emerging from this particular -- >> it is an incredibly powerful argument for the role of government in public life. i mean, it is the government that is going to actually clean up things. >> and when we've been hearing at every stump speech that problem is the government, that the republican convention, get rid of the government, reduce it, and then a situation like this where people in virginia and new jersey and various other states absolutely desperately need the government, i think that the public's view of what romney has been saying is now crystallized as a result of this storm. >> andrew, before we go, does this in terms of the markets getting back on track, i mean, do you think that we'll be back by wednesday? >> i think we will be back
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wednesday. it's going to be slow going. volumes will be low. not a lot of trading because people aren't going to get necessarily to the trading floors as you would want. you're not going to really see the impact in terms of the market market until next week. >> andrew ross sorkin your can catch him every -- each and every weekday on cnbc's "squawk box" as the painfully early hour of 6:00 a.m., apparently everybody but me gets up at a reasonable 5:30. thank you for braving the outdoor inclement weather and thank you to martin bashir. watch his show every week day, right here on msnbc, at 4:00 p.m. eastern where the air is clearer and much more intelligent. thank you, as always, my friend. coming up, the image that captured the attention and concern of viewers across the country yesterday. a collapsed crane dangling from a midtown manhattan high rise. we will update that coming up next. i'm a conservative investor. i invest in what i know.
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a bit of a sandy related update for a story we've been covering here. last night dubbed crane cam. at around 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday at a $1.5 billion luxury high rise development the arm of a crane snapped and was left dangling 1,000 feet the ground. the crane was inspected last friday and found to be ready for the storm. engineers are working to figure out how to secure the crane in this weather. coming up, beyond the damage and recovery, a question looms. will the storm disrupt the election. we will discuss when obama campaign spokesperson jen psaki joins us live next on "now." ♪ [ birds chirping ] are you sure you can fit in there? [ chuckles ] ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] around view monitor with bird's-eye view.
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week's election. while most battleground states have not been affected by the storm, north carolina and virginia have had to suspend early voting in some counties and close offices. in 2008, about 30% of americans cast their ballots early. that number is expected to increase this year. according to the u.s. elections project, over 15 million americans have voted early so far while ohio and virginia don't register voters by party making it clear which party has the edge in early voting other states have begun to release data. iowa, democrats have opened up a 13-point lead. in colorado, republicans are out ahead with 38% of early voters, to democrats 36%. in nevada, democrats have built up an 8-point margin thanks to healthy turnouts in counties like clark county and in florida, democrats lead in early voting though republicans hold the edge in the number of absentee ballots requested giving democrats a small advantage. the candidates are encouraging their supporters to get to the
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polls. >> i'm going to stop in my hometown of chicago to vote. i can't tell you who i'm voting for because it's a secret ballot. but, the good news is michele said she voted for me. >> i know that early voting has begun. get out there and vote. i see a voter right there. get out and vote. we want you early. we need you. it sends a very strong message, by the way, i mean i know your vote counts just as much if it's cast on election day as if it's cast early. but when it's cast early, all the media follows how much early voting is going on. they decide whether we're ahead or falling behind. >> joining us now from washington, is obama for america campaign spokeswoman jen psaki. >> great to be here. >> how concerned is the campaign about hurricane sandy derailing campaign efforts which is to say
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both early voting and also the campaign message, the fact that president is in washington being the president, of course, as he has to be in a time of national crisis? >> well, the president is doing exactly what the american people elected him to do which is to manage the country in a state of crisis. right now, that's hurricane sandy. and he's in the white house. i haven't seen him since yesterday because this is a time where politics is put on the back burner and he is being constantly updated by his team, on the phone with governors and mayors and he'll be doing that as long as possible. we've pulled down our events for tomorrow in ohio and get back on the campaign trail when it's appropriate. early voting i know you touched on this, is a great resource and we've been encouraging people to do that for weeks. hurricane sandy, mother nature is pretty unpredictable but so are people's lives and this has given a lot of flexibility to people across the country in states where it's applicable. >> the president is holding the edge on early voters. politico and george washington university poll reports 53% of those who voted early have voted
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for the president while 45% have voted for mitt romney. but are these early voters, mine anecdotically these seem to be the hard core support that come out early is there concern your going to get the sporadic voters out on election day? >> actually, i contradict that because our focus has been getting unlikely voters, people who maybe have only voted in one of the last three elections maybe haven't voted before, but have expressed interest in supporting the president, out to the polls early. so early voting in ohio, which started a couple of weeks ago, early voting in places like nevada where we're way up, that's been a big focus. and what we've seen in the numbers from tate to state including florida where it started this weekend the sporadic voters, new registrants, young people, latinos, african-americans, are really getting out there and taking advantage of this. >> iwant to open this up to our little panel here. richard, we were talking before the break about how much the president in stepping into the role of commander in chief would inform and enthuse swing voters
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and you seem to think this is something people vote on, this does change minds. >> yeah. look, we're not talking here about driving the base, right. completely different discussion about sporadic and determined voters. but in that sliver of undecideds, this whole set of events, the kind of presidential acts and executive decisions that he has to move forward with over the next couple days, make him look bigger, make him look like a national figure in a way that the debates made him look smaller. and that's what mitt romney has a very hard thing to come out against as in any equivalent manner. debates have that equalizing effect. there's no way mitt romney can stage anything that will look as presidential as what the president can do. in that sense you have the advantages of being president, of do you really want to change things when things are so uncertain, maybe we need to help, maybe he's a sort of father figure. remember what president bush went through after 9/11.
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it's a smaller impact for sure, the people gain confidence in a national leader. even if they didn't support him to begin with. >> we talk about the exon nous events that might change this. it might be libya, foreign policy crisis. in the end a domestic crisis like this ends up being a better hand for the president to play. campaigns are being conducted on parallel tracks and while the president is sequestered in the white house i'm sure he'll tour the damage at some point. the super pacs are airing their ads and we know there is a war under way between the romney campaign and the obama campaign, specifically on the question of the auto bail outout there has been in swing states trying to tear down -- not tear down but people have questioned the voracity of the romney messaging on the auto bailout as it points to jobs going overseas to china and keep sending jobs to china. i wonder what you make of that. is that super packed messaging enough to try to override the
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benefit may gain from being put in this elevated position of commander in chief? >> you know, be i was sitting here this morning trying to put myself in the mind of a voter in ohio, swing voter in ohio, and i suspect that for them, the hurricane, the damage and destruction on the east coast, is horrifying and bad, but not this transformative personal event. people are spectators to what's happening over here. even if they care -- i could imagine it makes less of an impact on their vote, how they're thinking, than issues like the auto bailout and the local fight being waged over issues and on the air from the super pacs and the campaigns. i agree with richard, there is some overall effects on nim bus or halo leadership that accrues for the president at this kind of a moment. for local voters with hyper targeted campaigns, i can imagine it not having a big impact. >> and you know there's been varies thinking how effective ads are. people in some states are
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sequestered at home, not going to work, privy to or prisoner to the campaign advertising on the airwaves. what do you make of that latest attack, the jeep ad that the romney team has been putting out there or super pacs have been putting out there? >> i agree with nic i think people in ohio are probably still focused on issues like the auto bailout. look, this ad is a hail mary pass by the romney team. you know, there are a couple issues with it. one the facts which is the most obvious, the same plant has said they're going to hire 1100 workers back. chrysler said this is factually inaccurate and we know that one in eight jobs in ohio are dependent on the auto industry or are there because of the auto industry. the other issue which is equally or not more important is character. this is a false ad, running with, you know, with a backing of supporters of mitt romney based in no facts. the question in this race, is this the kind gif who's going to do what he says, that the
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american people can trust in the oval office. it raises that as well. >> jen, one last question before we let you go. do you -- obviously it's a fluid situation but do you expect the president to be back on the campaign trail by the weekend? >> alex, it's hard to answer. we're monitoring it day by day, hour by hour, deferring to local and state authorities to fema and what's appropriate. the president will be in the white house as long as he needs to be there to make sure people have the information they need. the american people are safe and these states are getting the resources they need. >> thank you, as always, to the obama campaign. >> thank you. >> jen psaki good to see you. >> after the break, governors and mayors have been at the helm and on call throughout the crisis. more on their efforts and the latest from governor romney today coming up next. [ male announcer ] are you considering a new medicare plan?
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the people affected by it. >> appreciate your generosity. it's part of the american spirit. the american way to give to people who are in need. and your generosity this morning touches my heart. and i appreciate what you've done. >> an update on sandy and on some of the problems plaguing travelers around the country, coming up next. [ male announcer ] at scottrade, we believe the more you know, the better you trade. so we have ongoing webinars and interactive learning, plus, in-branch seminars at over 500 locations, where our dedicated support teams help you know more so your money can do more. [ rodger ] at scottrade, seven dollar trades are just the start. our teams have the information you want when you need it. it's another reason more investors are saying... [ all ] i'm with scottrade.
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we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. we cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. it is simply immoral in my view. for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debt and pass them on to our kids. knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off makes no sense at all. >> that was mitt romney at a presidential debate last year talking about fema and federal disaster assistance.
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joy, we played that tape yesterday and on the -- in advance of hurricane sandy. a lot of questions about what the role of the federal government is in american life and at a time of need like this. mitt romney was asked about those statements a few moments ago at his campaign event in ohio. apparently asked by five different reporters if he had anything to clarify vis-a-vis his position on fema and had no answer. >> might not want to talk about it because who likes fema, florida loves fema and florida is a close state and has had to rely on fema a lot because a lot of hurricanes hit there. who else is about to like fema, west virginia, virginia and north carolina. there are a lot of states that people say, i don't like the government, don't want the government in my life, but when something like this happens know who you want in your life, the government. it's a tricky position. he can't turn that far to the right that thinks you should offset any disaster spending with cuts in the budget which is his running mate paul ryan and house republican positions and those that say it's moral hazard
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to spend any money on federal disaster relief because we're borrow fromming our kids. if you want to give federal money to private contractors, we're fine with that. >> the remarks he made last year in the primary, he kouchds it in moral terms when nothing brings into sharp focus, more reality and our role as our brother's keeper as times like this. have to field those questions at this time. >> there are no fox holes and no anti-government conservatives in hurricanes. when the hurricane comes everyone wants big brother and help. because there is some problems only government has a scale to respond to and this is one of them. so i think the problem with taking that kind of position on fema some months ago is that sometimes you have hurricanes and the consequences become apparent. >> the question is, richard, there are only a handful of days remaining until november 6th. how does this get -- how much of this gets into the ground water? the romney statement on fema. of course the house republicans
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who forced a 43% reduction in primary fema grants. >> we still have day or two we're talking about cleanup and relief effort, but after that, you can be sure that we will have this discussion about the role of fema and government. mitt romney is running to be chief executive of the federal government. the role of government he has put that as one of the central pieces of his premise to be elected and unseat president obama and, you know, this isn't just a sort of esew terric argument about philosophy here. there are real life impacts to it and we have seen the romney campaign promising big change, trying to reconfigure that position on the auto bailout. there is the same thread that runs between these two things. what happens when everything fails? what happens when the markets bottom out, there is no other source of funding out there, except for the federal government and the federal reserve. there is no other relief that you can find for the state other than federal dollars or federal
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technical expertise. what does government do in those situations? and that's not an abstract argument. that's very real. >> what makes the firemen jump into the burning building, the police officer go in the streets after midnight in a flood zone, the national guard deployed. it's duty, it's service and those are things you get with government. >> yes. >> and this kind of situation, that you can't always get out of the private sector because it's there for a different reason. >> no incentive. it's those public sector workers who have been vilified since the tea party sort of came to the fore and the public sector workers, you can't privatize that. there's no incentive among private business to go out and rescue that grandma from the basement of her flooded home. there's no incentive for private sector to do that. >> the problem is, your house is -- your insured house is next to an uninsured house and we burn together. >> it brings to the floor the a
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argument about budget deficit spending has take on an ideological and nonhuman quality which is to say we forget about what this actually means as you said, nic, to have the firefighters there, to have the police there, to have government in charge of infrastructure building roads and bridges. it makes that moment when the romney campaign seized on the president's comments about you didn't build that, seem so completely small. we are all in this together and government has a role to play and this is about community and it's about businesses being strong and it's about a stronger economy but at the end of the day it is -- government has a role. we are looking at pictures right now of laguardia airport. i am not -- that is i believe a jetway. the airport is flooded. it's worth noting tens of thousands are still stranded across the country, ripple effects when you close down laguardia, newark and jfk. we do know the ap is reporting that stock exchange will be open tomorrow, so as andrew ross sorkin says wall street will
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begin to get its trading mojo back. certainly we'll be following the path of this storm and its effects, both in a practical and political sense in the coming days. thank you to my package here, nicolas, joy and richard for staying with me. that is all for now. continuous coverage of sandy all day today here on msnbc. i will see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when joined by new york city deputy mayor howard wolfson, rolling stone eric baits, hugo lin dren and ben smith. find us at with alex. andrea mitchell reports is next.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- be storm damage. rescue and recovery along the east coast. after historic floods, fires, power failures, the jersey shore decimated. and a rare sight, lower manhattan blacked out. >> the level of